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Woman coughing while lying in bed

Why Do I Cough at Night?

A nighttime cough can be frustrating, especially if you’ve kept it under control all day. Why does a cough seem to get worse at night? Here’s what OhioHealth family medicine physician Laurie Hommema, MD, told us:

If you have a cold, you cough at night because gravity prevents you from clearing excess mucus easily.

If you’re bothered by a nighttime cough, here are some steps to try:

  • Gargling with salt water before bed
  • Using a cool mist humidifier
  • Taking some over-the-counter cold medication
  • Elevating your head while you sleep

If you’re coughing at night because of asthma or allergies, work on reducing the allergens in your home. You can:

  • Use dust mite covers on your mattress and pillows
  • Clean your sheets regularly
  • Replace the filter in your furnace
  • Take your medications as prescribed
  • Don’t smoke!


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